Adjustment of Status
An immigrant is a foreign national who has been granted the privilege of living and working permanently in the United States.
You must go through a multi-step process to become an immigrant. In most cases, USCIS must first approve an immigrant petition for you, usually filed by an employer or relative (including cases based on marriage to the US Citizen). Then, an immigrant visa number must be available to you, even if you are already in the United States. After that, if you are already in the United States, you may apply to adjust to permanent resident status (If you are outside the United States, you will be notified to go to the local U.S. consulate to complete the processing for an immigrant visa.)
Therefore, an Adjustment of Status refers to the procedure for becoming a lawful permanent resident without having to leave the United States.
It should be distinguished from the traditional method of gaining permanent residence, which involves applying for an immigrant visa at a consular post abroad.
Commonly, the adjustment of status will lead to the status of the Legal Permanent Resident (“green card”).
Adjustment of status is discussed at §245 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”).
According to INA §245(a), the status of an alien who was inspected and admitted or paroled into the United States may be adjusted by the Attorney General, in his discretion and under such regulations as he may prescribe, to that of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence if:
- the alien makes an application for such adjustment,
- the alien is eligible to receive an immigrant visa and is admissible to the United States for permanent residence, and
- an immigrant visa is immediately available to him at the time his application is filed.
Potential clients should be aware of a difference between an Adjustment of Status and Change of Status. Adjustment of Status changes status from non-immigrant (even if you are illegal in some instances) to an immigrant. Change of Status changes non-immigrant status to another non-immigrant status (for example, Visitor Visa, B2 to Student Visa, F1).
Please consult with an experienced immigration attorney to evaluate your case and eligibility.